Summary: Tips on how to become praying people.
THE FAMILY THAT PRAYS TOGETHER STAYS TOGETHER
A good Christian lad went camping with his family. He was warned not to stray too far from the campfire, as the woods were full of danger. The young boy had every intention of not straying but curiosity got the better of him and he unwittingly wandered further and further from the fire.
Suddenly, he found himself face to face with a huge and ferocious bear. Seeing no way of escape, he did what he had been taught to do-he knelt down to pray. When he opened his eyes he was rapt to see that the bear was also kneeling in prayer. He said, ‘Oh, bear, this is truly astonishing! You and I so utterly different and yet praying together – who would’ve thought that we could be brothers in the Lord!’
‘Son,’ the bear said without emotion, ‘I don’t know about you, but I’m giving thanks.’
In that story we have a picture of someone leaving safety – the security of the campfire and finding great danger. This morning we are going to focus on one of our campfires – one of the essentials in the Christian walk.
From the reading we heard a few moments ago, would anyone like to suggest what that campfire might be?
Yes – prayer! Has anyone seen the sign in front of the Pressie Church just down the road? – ‘Life’s Short Play Pray Hard’. We are going to spend a few moments looking at prayer. In fact I have entitled this message, ‘The Family That Prays Together Stays Together’. You know when we wander from the campfire, when we go it alone, we can end up with big problems cant we?! Do you agree that it’s easy to wander from the campfire of prayer?
Why do you think this is?
Well, lets turn our attention back to the passage that Noel and Daniel read to us a few moments ago – ACTS 4:23-37. Here we’ll discover some ‘tips’ in how to become praying people. We’ll discover some distinctives – some distinctives that we would do well to apply to our own lives as a family of believers.
Let’s look at verse 23
What does that verse tell us about prayer? What distinctive do we notice there?
1. PRAYING PEOPLE COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER
We must communicate - if we are to be effective in prayer - We need to know what we are praying for. We need to know what God is doing in each others lives. We need to know what’s happening – to have our finger on the pulse. We are not ‘islands’ – we are part of a family - we are not meant to ‘go it alone’. We share our trials and joys, our successes and failures, our desires and concerns so that we can pray for, and encourage each other.
We must share what’s happening in our part of the community so that we can pray together.
’On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.’
Communication is a mark of a praying people. Sharing in the family is a mark of a church close to the protecting campfire of prayer.
Think about it – do you have that mark? If not, what are you going to do about it?
Let’s move on and consider the first part of verse 24.
What does that tell us about prayer? There are two ‘marks’ or distinctives there – can you pick them?
When Peter and John shared with their fellow Christians, what did those fellow Christians do? The ‘mark’ that we need to see is found in the response those people gave.
What was their response when they heard Peter and John’s account?
That’s right - It was to pray.
2. THEY RECOGNISED PRAYER AS FUNDAMENTAL
They understood that prayer was just a matter of course. I don’t think they would have even imagined not praying – prayer was an integral part of life.
Is this a distinctive of my life? Ask yourself right now – ‘is this a distinctive of my life?’ Do I understand prayer to be a matter of course?
’When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer ...’
Praying people know that prayer is fundamental. These are the people who stoke the campfire!
What is the second distinctive we find in the first part of verse 24?
3. THERE IS A SPONTANEOUS DESIRE TO UNITE IN PRAYER
A praying people are a people who ’raise their voices together in prayer...’
Where are we on that score - do we spontaneously pray together with one voice? Or have we wandered from the campfire?